Legacy Careers, which is funded by London Legacy Development Cooperation (LLDC) is now in its 3rd year, delivering in four boroughs surrounding the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. LLDC aims to provide awareness of the career opportunities available within park, as well as encouraging young people to start developing the skills they need to pursue these future careers.
The overriding message of this programme is that the future of the young people is in their hands, and over the past few years Future Foundations have shown that the moment they realise this incredible things happen! This is exactly the charismatic responses I observed last week when I visited a school in Leytonstone mid way through their Legacy Careers journey.
I was at Connaught School to judge students’ business challenge presentations. Year 8 Connaught girls just had half a day to design a new town, create branding materials and town plans then pitch their idea to their peers and judges – focusing on what made the town a unique place for people to live. And boy were they unique!
Legacy Careers Project
The impact on the young people is phenomenal as the programme:
- supports them through their transition into year 9
- assists some in their decision making for GCSEs
- changes the attitude they approach lessons with
Changing young people’s perspective of the future is only half of what this programme aims to achieve. It is also about raising young people to work beyond their academic or perceived social limitations to achieve their full potential and be what they want to be.
Last week the creative sparks were truly flying as one team presented a town encased in a dome so that their citizens would not have to suffer the UK’s inclement weather. Another team attempted to tackle health issues by replacing all real grass with astro turf so people with hayfever didn’t have an issue. Many of them were passionate about green energy and social inclusion, creating safe spaces in the town for religious worship free from persecution.
It opened up my eyes to see how different generations are and made me think about the way young peoples’ experiences (good and bad!) shape their view of the world. It also gave me a real sense of nostalgia for my own school days. As I reflected on the various ideas I pledged to judge with an open mind and to credit their creativity and ingenuity – over looking some of the rather more serious health and safety breaches!
This challenge wasn’t just about the ideas that young people put forward, but how they came together as a team and supported one another. Despite nervous laughter and the occasional melt down overall they all rose to the challenge and some of the presentations were really impressive. I had to keep reminding myself that their Legacy Careers journey has only just begun! By the end of the programme, as I witnessed last year when I attended the finals, the level of professionalism these 14 year olds will achieve is incredible and will give them skills that lay the foundations for their futures.
Something else I recognised was that these are not just children; they are young people that will grow and have a huge amount to offer society. In the likeness of a growing plant, we need to nourish them with knowledge and wisdom, shine the light of encouragement but above all ensure that the root of who they are is established on fertile ground.
I wish the Connaught girls all the best, and hope to see them in the finals this year. For those who want to have an impact, but are not sure what they can offer, volunteering as a judge or business volunteer on such a programme is one of the most fulfilling things you can and benefits both parties. Each volunteer helps a young person develop just that little bit more, and you come away feeling inspired!